“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those others that have been tried from time to time.” These are the words used by Sir Winston Churchill while he was expressing his resolve with democracy. Democracy is the dominant form of government in the world with the exception of a few countries. In Sir Winston’s statement, the phrase, “except all those others that have been tried from time to time” however, shows that despite being a weak form of government, it’s relatively the best form of governance in history1. Weaknesses of modern democracy span from the fundamental to contemporary ones as this paper illustrates.
The biggest problem with modern democratically elected governments is the sluggish manner in which they conduct their business2. This is detrimental to any government’s role in deliberating on key policies. Any policy making exercise by any government should be marked by strong decisiveness. Modern democratic governments have adopted compromise in the place of decisiveness2. In circumstances where long term solutions are needed, short term solutions are made leaving problems unsolved and very sensitive to future discussions. On part of the governed, unfulfilled promises lead to disillusionment eventually resulting to numerous and sporadic government changes thus overhauls and patching of critical government programs and key policies1.
A good example of sluggishness in government policing is the destitute nature of the United States economy2. Slowness in dealing with the huge public debt and recession, have drastically reduced the strength of the economy. With the congress locked in ideological partisan politics, important decisions on the economy have been unforthcoming. On the other hand, China (without democracy and very decisive) has a strong economy growing with an above average growth rate2.
The original definition of democracy is; a government whereby people determine on the way they are governed mostly through elected representatives1. Democracy is guided by the core principle of majority rule2. However, today the minority as well might have their way provided there is enough money to bribe the electorate. Such governments end up spending extravagantly so as to achieve all campaign promises1. Excessive spending leads to accumulation of huge public debts, as seen in the European Union and in the USA. To settle these debts, governments end up borrowing more money and imposing huge taxes. These end up reducing an economy’s competitiveness and reducing critical investment within a country2.
Another weakness in democracy is the accession of incompetent leaders to office. Most citizens in countries with modern democracy belong to a gullible bourgeois class1. An intelligent charismatic leader with self interests can easily deceive such masses to get into office. Once in office such leaders end up forgetting their promises in pursuit of personal gains2.
In modern democracy, most voters do not vote due to an obligatory purpose as required in democracy but due to persuasion by candidates1. Due to the equality principle applied in democracy, this phenomenon is dangerous since not all people are intelligent enough to understand all proposed promises by candidates2.
Another demerit of modern democracy is the huge cost incurred. A lot of resources and time are used and foregone in electing governments and formulating laws democratically1. Elections waste a lot of money that could instead be used for economic constructive purposes. Elected politicians also waste a lot of public money in seminars and unnecessary retreats2.
It is important to note that, despite democracy having a lot of demerits; it has a lot of benefits compared to all other forms of governance ever tried so far. Only in democracy can citizens be assured of essential human rights and freedoms. It is also the only form of government that citizens can
determine how and by how much to be ruled.
1. Gupta, Tusha. “What are the advantages and disadvantages of democracy?” Preserve articles, May 16, 2012, http://www.preservearticles.com/2012051632245/what-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-democracy.html. 2. Hearnes, James. “The weaknesses of Democracy” WordPress, July 18, 2012, http://jameshearne.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/the-weaknesses-of-democracy/
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